How to Prevent Nuts From Loosening

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrenches (the size of the nut and bolt head, or adjustable)

  • Nut with built in self-locking device

  • Thread locking compound

  • Metal punch

  • Drill

  • Wire drill bit, 16 gauge, high-speed steel or titanium

  • Mechanics wire, 16 gauge

  • Pliers

Vibrations from mechanical equipment will work nuts loose over time.
See More Photos

Nuts and bolts make up the majority of fastening devices on mechanical equipment, and the vibrations of the equipment often causes the nuts to work loose. Many solutions exist to prevent this from occurring. There are specially designed nuts with nylon inserts built in or flanged washers attached to keep the nut securely in place. There are also split, or lock, washers to help prevent unwanted loosening. Finally, there are adhesive compounds that can be painted on the threads of the bolt to achieve a secure connection and prevent loosening.


Video of the Day

Self-locking and Adhesive Compounds

Step 1

Thread a self-locking nut on the bolt and tighten with the appropriate wrenches.

Step 2

Slip a split, or lock, washer over the bolt end. Twist the nut on and tighten it down with the appropriate wrenches.


Step 3

Paint thread-locker compound all the way around the bolt threads as far down as possible. Thread the nut on and tighten with the appropriate wrenches.

Safety Wire

Step 1

Thread the nut on the bolt and tighten with the appropriate wrenches.


Step 2

Mark where you want to drill using the metal punch and drill a hole straight through a flat surface on the side of the nut. Drill it all the way through both sides of the nut and the bolt.

Step 3

Thread a piece of wire completely through the hole you have drilled in the nut and bolt. Leave several inches of wire on both sides of the nut.


Step 4

Pull the ends of the wire together around the nut so that they meet at a center point between the holes on each side of the nut and bolt. Twist both ends of the wire together using the pliers. The wrap should be 5 to 6 twists per inch. The wire prevents the nut from loosening, and the twist prevents the wire from slipping out of the hole you drilled.

Step 5

Clip the ends of the wire off leaving one inch of the twist.